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technology and its impact on legal recruitment

Recruitment in the legal sector presents a unique set of challenges. Because of growing competition for jobs, there are a lot of applications for each role, and a lot more available roles as people move between companies. As a legal recruitment specialist, Interlink Recruitment has increasingly relied on a degree of automation and technology in legal recruitment to expedite the process, but this is an adaptation that has to be carefully managed.

According to Samuel Williams, a Legal Recruitment Consultant at Interlink Recruitment, automation is effective for streamlining processes, sourcing more candidates, and increasing productivity, but this has to be balanced alongside the needs of human recruiters to be effective - most candidates would prefer to interact with a human recruiter than an automated system or tool. Samuel explains, “The approach needs to be done via a human recruiter in my opinion. A formulaic, generic approach through technology may deter a large percentage of legal professionals who may prefer human interaction; especially those in more senior roles, where candidates are used to more traditional methods.”

An overly enthusiastic approach to technology in legal recruitment does not always solve problems. In fact, it can sometimes create new ones, particularly if law firms are too quick to automate certain processes in an effort to save money. Daniyal Aziz, Head of the International Desk at Interlink Recruitment, explains: “International law firms, in particular, are very quick to adopt new technologies in an effort to reduce overheads. Initially, these technologies have a high setup cost but if used correctly, can help to cut costs in the long run. Smaller and medium-sized law firms tend to be more cautious around new technologies because they may lack the budget for such expenses, or be keen to maintain a specific culture.”

To utilise the best of both approaches, Interlink Recruitment uses technology to complement the efforts of its human recruiters. The volume of applications alone often makes this necessary, and by uniting the skills of its recruiters with the efficiency and oversight afforded by technology, Interlink Recruitment can ensure that it always finds the right person for the job.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Many of the advantages that technology can bring to the recruitment process can be seen in the use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) to monitor and manage candidates. Interlink Recruitment receives an average of between 500 and 1,000 applicants for each job listing, and an ATS is vital to keeping track of the best candidates for any legal sector job.

Cameron Milton, a Legal Recruitment Consultant at Interlink, says: “AI software and various ATSs serve the purpose of helping HR to manage the massive influxes of candidates they receive because of the ease of applying for roles online, which can sometimes be done in one click. Technology in legal recruitment isn’t just about applying for jobs easier than before, it makes it easier for businesses to source quality candidates.”

Legal recruiters aren’t only making use of bespoke technologies - even social media can be a source of high-quality recruits for law firms. Potential applicants are easier than ever to find and approach thanks to their social media accounts, and this enables recruiters to take a more proactive part in filling roles - something that automated technologies are still unable to do.

Kean Smith, a Legal Recruitment Consultant, explains: “As a recruiter, I use technology like a gold hunter uses a pan. They take large portions of the earth and filter them with a pan to source and separate what they want - the gold. LinkedIn and other similar social platforms serve just like this to me. They source and separate talent - the gold!” This is not a process that can be automated, as the eye of an experienced recruiter is needed to identify the right combination of skills and experience, but social media has made it easier than ever to forge connections with the best prospective employees.

Data and artificial intelligence

Looking ahead to the future, many law firms are preparing or implementing AI-enabled technologies that could add even greater capabilities to the recruiter’s toolkit. For example, collecting data on applicants and using AI tools alongside this will allow companies to forecast or monitor trends, and could give recruitment firms more control than ever over the processes they employ to identify prospective candidates. 

For Beth Johnson, Head of Office Support at Interlink Recruitment, the company’s client management system (CMS) delivers secure control over data that is fundamental to the company’s recruitment efforts, and as technology develops, there will be ever more functionality for the company to take advantage of.

Beth says: “Having an adaptable CMS gives your recruitment process a solid foundation for reviewing and managing activity/usage, data control (GDPR) and forecasting. With mass mailing tools we can quickly and effectively canvass our new and live requirements out to our active candidates seeking new opportunities. Having a process-driven CMS gives recruiters a central focus point to better display important information relating to clients or candidates.”

Chatbots

Some technologies are growing in popularity as recruitment tools in other sectors, but may be less compatible with the needs of a legal recruitment specialist. One example is chatbots, which are used in many industries to conduct pre-interviews with potential candidates. These can be an effective way of filtering out recruits who don’t meet certain criteria, as bots can be programmed with dialogue trees that will guide prospective employees through preset questions, and are able to understand answers and reject candidates who don’t fulfil minimum requirements at an early stage.